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Platini re-elected as UEFA president

23 march 2011, 13:38
Michel Platini. @RIA Novosti
Michel Platini. @RIA Novosti
Frenchman Michel Platini was re-elected unopposed as president of European football's governing body UEFA on Tuesday, AFP reports.

The 55-year-old former European Player of the Year will serve a second mandate of four years, having first been elected in 2007 when he took over from the veteran Swedish administrator Lennart Johansson.

Since then his reforms have included the democratisation of the flagship Champions League tournament and new 'financial fair play' rules obliging European clubs to break even.

"The advantage of this year is that I suspected I was going to win, so I had the time to prepare a few words," joked Platini.

"After my first election, I particularly thanked my predecessors and, taken by the emotion and a flush of nostalgia, I thanked all those who had accompanied me in my life.

"Today I thank those who work alongside me and who have always supported me. I thank my friends from the national associations. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your trust."

In contrast to 2007, when he scored a narrow 27 votes to 23 win over the incumbent Johansson, Platini's re-election was a straightforward affair as he had no opposition.

Representatives of the 53 federations that make up UEFA gave Platini their official approval with a round of applause during the UEFA Congress at the Grand Palais here on Tuesday afternoon, thereby negating the need for a vote.

"A little thank you to all those heroes of ordinary life, without whom there'd have been no (Franz) Beckenbauer, no (Johan) Cruyff, no (Zinedine) Zidane, no (Lionel) Messi, without whom there would have been no moments of sharing," added Platini.

"I mean to say the volunteers and coaches. They instil values in our children, educating them through the best school of life and making our society a little bit better."

Platini's second term as head of the Geneva-based UEFA will notably include the 2012 European Championship, to be jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

UEFA have on numerous occasions expressed concerns about Ukraine's readiness to co-host the tournament and Platini admitted that UEFA may have erred in awarding the right to host the event to the financially imperilled country.

Recently tipped by Pele to succeed Sepp Blatter as head of world governing body FIFA, Platini's comfortable re-election in Paris will keep him in pole position for football's top job.

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